With the internet being down in the hotel Sunday, I wasn’t able to check the Newseum or even read the latest developments in the Aurora shooting. As I wrote earlier, I had brunch with the design director who was responsible for inviting me here to Nairobi, Kathy Bogan. She took me for a brief walk around the downtown area.
I find this place very interesting. It’s marked with tropical trees, as you see there. Yet, the altitude here is higher than Denver, so it’s nice and cool. A great break from what I was getting back in Virginia Beach.
The city wasn’t terribly crowded, with it being Sunday and all. Yet, there was just a hint of bustle.
There are a number of shopping centers and restaurants within an easy walk of my hotel. Should I want to venture out alone, that is. I’m told it’s quite safe here, especially during the day.
The roads, perhaps, not so much. Traffic wasn’t nearly as crazy as it was in Nigeria. But it wasn’t structured at all like it is in South Africa. Vehicles don’t feel the need to stay in any particular lane. Nor do they seem to take traffic lights seriously.
And the traffic circles: Wow. In Johannesburg and Cape Town — where I’ve driven quite a bit — I can get around just fine. But I wouldn’t even want to try to drive through this zoo of a roundabout.
And, as I’ve seen throughout Africa: If it’s flat, they can slap an advertisement on it. No matter how tall it might be.
This poor fellow wants to keep someone from posting ads on his wall.
He might not need ad posters. But he needs a copy editor.
This is the home of the Nation Media Group, a large multimedia company here in Nairobi that publishes a number of newspapers, magazines and owns TV, radio and internet outlets.
Interesting architecture, is it not? The main part of the building is up front. The two circular things that look like cooling towers or smokestacks are, in fact, offices. The conference room where I’ll be giving my shows this week is actually in the lower end of one of those stacks.
We spent a couple of hours poking around the office before Kathy took me back to my hotel, the historic Stanley. It was the first chance I’ve had, really, to see it in the daylight.
I’m on the seventh floor, on the far side of the section you see here on the left. The downside is that my room doesn’t face the main streets, so I don’t have much of a view. The upside is that I’m not getting much street noise here in my room.
This is the hallway here on the 7th floor. Note the carved wood trim.
My room is huge and comfy. I can report the bed sleeps very well.
Here’s a reverse view. That’s a minibar and a closet on the left. Not that I’ve had much use yet for the closet.
And this desk will serve as blog central… when the internet is working, that is. It worked for a couple of hours, maybe, late Saturday and early Sunday before it went down. It didn’t work at all Sunday.
I managed to get on well after midnight, which is how I uploaded these pictures. I’m hoping access will be more reliable for the rest of my stay here.
There are all sorts of interesting places here in the Stanley. I’m going to have to shoot pictures of some of them and tell you about them. But a) Folks are very security-conscious, so I’ve been warned about whipping out my Canon. And b) I’m awfully self-conscious about walking around five-star facilities wearing warmup pants and a T-shirt. My suitcase was supposed to arrive late last night. No good news yet.
I did manage to check out the poolside bar and restaurant, up on the fifth floor. The fitness center is up here, too, so there’s not really a dress code here.
The establishment forms a ring around this atrium area.
And, of course, there is a pool. I didn’t bring a swimsuit with me this trip. But even if I had, I wouldn’t have it with me anyway: It would have been in my suitcase.
On Sunday afternoons, I’m told they grill meat for a buffet-style meal up here. I’ll make a mental note to be here for that.
And, yes, there’s a real bar here. With what appear to be regular customers.
I sat down at one of the cute placemats shaped like me…
…and ordered the local Kenyan beer: Tusker.
Very nice and very cold. Has a bit of a punch, in fact. I won’t be drinking more than two at a sitting, that’s for sure.
Dinner was fish and chips. And delicious.
Given how close we are to the equator, I was surprised at how early it gets dark here. In addition, just as dusk was settling in, clouds rolled over the city. We got a few drops but nothing really to write home about.
I spent the afternoon and evening doing what I nearly always do on these trips: Ripping up my slideshows and reconfiguring them.
Kathy will meet me in the lobby this morning at 8:30. And my first presentation is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with this: My first video blog report.
UPDATE, even before I got this posted…
My alarm clock was set this morning for 6 a.m. Before the first snooze cycle passed, the front desk called. My bag had arrived. They were sending it up to my room.
It was shrinkwrapped and the zipper is torn off. But nothing appears to be missing.
So is the broken zipper the reason the bag was delayed? Not at all. In fact, the case was still closed. It’s the handle part of the zipper that’s missing. I have no idea how I’ll get it closed when it comes time to pack for the return trip. But I’ll worry about that next week.
Here’s the real reason the bag went missing:
That’s the label the folks in Norfolk put on my bag Friday afternoon. See the little “CDG”? That stands for Charles de Gaulle, the name of the airport in Paris.
The “helpful” lady at the Delta counter in Norfolk checked my bag to Paris, not Nairobi, my actual destination. So while I was flying over the Mediterranean and the Sahara, my bag was going around and around on a baggage carousel in Paris.
So much for being the “star” in the Star Alliance. Thanks for nothing, Delta.
But I have clothes now. And just in time.
Because I’d really hate teaching here in Nairobi naked.
I’m just starting a two-week consulting and teaching trip to Kenya. Read along with my trip here.